Donnie Elkin stands outside the Columbus Police Department earlier this week. Elkin is retiring from CPD after 27 years on the force. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
March 15, 2017 10:21:17 AM
After almost 27 years, Capt. Donnie Elkin is turning in his badge in favor of retirement from the Columbus Police Department.
Elkin, 51, started with the department in May 1990. Since then, he's risen to the rank of captain and oversees CPD's patrol division.
Elkin worked his last day on March 2, but with 240 hours of vacation time and sick time to be applied, his retirement is effective April 20.
The city council approved Elkin's resignation during their last meeting.
"I've been thinking about it for the last three years," Elkin said. "I could retire after 25 years. It's just time. I feel like I've had enough and I'm ready to move forward and spend time with my family, because it does take away time from your family, that job does."
Elkin said he plans to keep living in Columbus, though he may spend more time with his children in Tupelo.
Police Chief Oscar Lewis commended Elkin's service to the department. Lewis noted that he remembered Elkin as a supervisor and corporal from when he started at the department.
"For anybody to stay in this career field as long as he has (...) that's a great accomplishment," Lewis said. "More so, Captain Elkin was patrol commander, and since I came back as chief of police, he's done a great job for us and this department. He will surely be missed."
Lewis said Lt. Ric Higgins will move up to assume command of the patrol division with Elkin's departure. Still, he said Elkin left behind big shoes to fill.
"Donnie had those years of experience," Lewis said. "He's seen it all, and he got along well with the guys."
A changing profession
Policing has changed throughout Elkin's career, and he said CPD has changed with it. He said the department has shifted from one with a lot of senior officers to one that's much younger.
"For the longest part of my career, we had a bunch of senior officers," Elkin said. "I always had people I could go to. The majority of them retired, and we went from having a bunch of seniority who had been working there to now, it's a very young department."
Elkin said he's seen good times and bad with CPD. He said the department's current manpower issues can be solved, but will require patience.
"It's going to take some time," he said. "It's getting better, and you can see it. We're getting better people to apply and we're hiring better people. It's just going to take a little time to get there."
Lewis also acknowledged CPD's staff problems -- the department has about 50 officers, which is short of the budgeted 67 -- and said Elkin performed admirably with the resources and manpower available.
"It's some pretty tough times, doing a lot with a whole lot less officers and just trying to make that work," Lewis said. "But he's been very receptive and able to just help try to encourage the guys and bring them along with training and a positive attitude and how to conduct themselves in public."
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